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How You Can Give the Gift of Warmth

This story, by student Roisin Shannon, originally appeared online in the Albany High Cougar. It has been reprinted from The Cougar with permission. See more from The Cougar at http://www.albanyhighcougar.com.

One of the most incessantly distracting feelings is the feeling of being cold. It makes it difficult to focus on anything else.

In fact, One Warm Coat, an organization devoted to helping people keep warm, states that, “Even a 2-degree drop in body temperature results in reduced heart rate, loss of coordination and confusion,” and that “Adults cannot work effectively and children find it difficult to learn.”

With winter here and poverty and homelessness rates rising across the country, it is as important as ever to do what we can for those in need.

According to U.S. Census data from September 2011, close to 15 percent of Americans are living in poverty. Based on this increasing poverty trend and future economic trends, homelessness is expected to continue to rise.

This means there will be more people without access to the comforts many of us take for granted every day, such as shelter and a way to keep warm.

“For most, a warm coat solves the problem,” says One Warm Coat. The nationwide organization works with groups to collect coats and give them to those in need. “But, for… Americans living in poverty, a warm winter coat is a budget ‘extra.’”

There have been in the past, and continue to be, students enrolled in the Albany Unified School District who have dealt with or deal with the issue of homelessness. Across the Bay Area, schools have become increasingly aware of the rise in homeless students and families.

If you have a warm coat that you can donate, there are numerous places to drop one off. The Albany Community Center, for instance, . There are also many, many more place to donate around the Bay Area.

See a partial list of drop-off locations here on The Cougar. For more information, go to http://onewarmcoat.org/donate/donate-a-coat.

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